The 15 Types Of Behaviors, And Their Characteristics

Types of behaviors

Talk, laugh, cry, read, eat… all these words have in common that they are verbs. That express action, and that are carried out by something or someone. They are behaviors, and apart from those mentioned there are many more; in fact we are constantly doing some.

Throughout this article we are going to make a brief enumeration and explanation of the main categories or types of behaviors that are usually studied.

What do we call behavior?

Before starting to evaluate some of the different typologies of behavior and although it can be deduced from the introduction, it is worth making a small comment regarding the concept we are talking about. Behavior is understood or defined as the set of actions carried out by a subject, which may be human or animal, and which It is the expression of your behavior in a specific environment, situation or context.

Technically, everything we do is conduct. This can be easy to see when we perform an action on a physical level: we lift an object, we sit, we run…

But nevertheless, to be doing some behavior it is not necessary for it to be directly visible in the physical environment; Even when we are completely still we do something: thinking, imagining, dreaming, doubting or feeling are still actions that we carry out, even if they are mental.

The different types of behavior

If we take into account that we understand behavior as any type of action or behavior carried out, the truth is that we can realize the countless number of situations and activities that we can be talking about.

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In this sense we can find a large number of possible classifications of types of behavior, based on very diverse criteria. Below we leave you only some of the most common and well-known ones.

1. Innate or inherited behavior

Innate or reflex behaviors are one of the first types of behavior that we perform in our lives, and are characterized by being those that appear in the person or are naturally derived from our genetics, without anyone having taught us before. An example of this is found in reflexes such as thumb sucking or sucking when we are babies.

They can appear after birth or even before (some behaviors of this type are already observed in the fetal stage).

2. Acquired or learned behavior

Another of the main types of behavior is acquired or learned behavior, which is defined as any type of action that does not arise naturally in the person or animal but is learned throughout life. This learning can be instilled by one’s own experience or transmitted or modeled from observing the behavior of others.

3. Observable/manifest behavior

The observable or manifest behavior is that which can be seen with the naked eye from the outside. These are behaviors that we carry out and that imply some type of movement on our part in relation to the environment that surrounds us.

They are the type of behavior that is usually considered as such, since they lead us to physically “do” some action.

In this sense, currents such as early behaviorism initially considered them to be the only type of behavior that was observable and empirically demonstrable.

4. Latent/covert behavior

As we have mentioned previously, things like imagining, thinking, remembering or fantasizing are acts or behaviors that They cannot be seen with the naked eye from the outside, but they are still acts that we carry out.. These are what are known as covert behaviors.

5. Voluntary behaviors

Another type of classification of behaviors that can be applied has to do with the presence or absence of voluntariness when carrying them out. Voluntary behaviors are all those that the subject who performs them carries out consciously and in accordance with his will.

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6. Involuntary/reflex behaviors

On the other hand, involuntary behaviors are all those that are carried out unintentionally.

In general, this mainly includes reflex behaviors: removing our hand from a fire that burns us, breathing or the set of reflexes that we have had since birth.

7. Adaptive behaviors

We understand adaptive behaviors as all those that allow the person who performs them to adapt more or less efficiently to the environment that surrounds itso that its implementation is an advantage and facilitates the survival and adjustment and well-being of the subject.

8. Maladaptive behaviors

There are also behaviors that make it difficult for the subject to adapt to the environment and that They can cause discomfort or make it difficult for you to function in the environment in which you are located..

These would be the so-called maladaptive behaviors, which tend to cause suffering and which are generally desirable to modify (although sometimes it is difficult or the subject themselves does not want to do so).

9. Appetitive behaviors

That set of actions is called appetitive or approach behavior. carried out by approaching a certain objectivewhich motivates and activates the subject to act.

10. Consummatory behaviors

It is about the set of actions that we carry out in order to achieve the objective, goal or gratification that moves us to actionand that allow us to terminate a pattern or series of actions or behaviors to achieve it.

11. Passive behaviors

Passive behavior is understood to be that set of behaviors linked to the way of relate to the environment that surrounds us and with the rest of our peerscharacterized by a suppression or minimization of one’s own desires and needs in favor of those of others.

They generally appear due to a need or desire to be appreciated or to avoid the conflict that the expression of one’s own will could entail.

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12. Aggressive behaviors

Aggressive behavior is understood as behavior in which obtaining one’s own benefit or gratification of one’s own needs is put ahead of the well-being of others. with indifference to the fact that this represents a detriment to the rest.

It is a dominant type of behavior that can be expressed through violence. Although evolutionarily they had a purpose (defend themselves from external aggression), this type of behavior can be aversive for others.

13. Assertive behaviors

Assertive behavior is one that has a balance between aggressive and passive: the subject defends his point of view and his interests, but taking into account and valuing the opinion and needs of others.

It allows for negotiation and reaching a point of agreement, and integrates the reaffirmation and expression of needs and opinions with respect for others’ needs.

Conditioned/responsive behavior

This type of behavior refers to that which the subject carries out as a consequence of the association made between its emission and the presence or absence of another appetitive or aversive stimulus.

This is a concept better known as a conditioned response.studied by the behaviorist current of psychology and used by authors such as Pavlov with his classical conditioning.

14. Unconditioned/unconditioned behavior

Better known as the unconditioned response, it is the type of behavior that the subject performs innately and naturally when presented with a stimulus that is in itself palatable or aversivetowards which there is a tendency to move closer or further away depending on the case.

15. Operant behavior

It is called as such any type of behavior that is carried out with the purpose of obtaining or achieving a certain good, objective or goal.

It is also related to behaviorism, in this case with that of Skinner’s operant conditioning: we carry out a behavior due to the anticipation that its performance allows us to receive reinforcement or avoid punishment.